In honor of the beginning of internship season, and of course our recent RD graduates, we wanted to provide an overview of the most common jobs coming out of school and “into the real world.” Your first job out of the internship can be daunting, and the field provides an increasing number of options! We 1) are always available to serve as a sounding board and 2) promise that no matter what initial job you take, your career will unfold in a great way, and over the course of many years!
Most dietetic graduates enter the field in one of these sectors:
- Inpatient care. RDs involved in inpatient care work in a hospital setting and are responsible for creating meal plans to accommodate patients’ needs; additionally, some RDs provide long-term nutrition counseling for specific patients. This type of care works with patients who stay for extended periods of time (longer than an overnight stay).
- Outpatient care. Similar to inpatient care, dietitians work in hospitals and clinics; however, they work with patients who have temporary stays. Outpatient care requires specific nutrition counseling (bariatric, eating disorder, etc.)
- Corporate. These RDs are hired by companies, work with Human Resources, and provide nutrition counseling for the staff. This can include implementing online food tracking for employees, creating meal plans, and assisting with weight management and disease prevention.
- Community. Whether it’s through SNAP or WIC, these dietitians are hard at work entrenched in the community to support large patient populations!
- Private practice. Dietitians in private practice provide their clients with nutrition counseling through scheduled appointments. Though some RDs in private practice take all different types of clients, many choose to specialize in certain fields; bariatric/weight management, diabetic, eating disorder-specific, and sports nutrition are just a handful of the different options available to you! Our two cents: if you are thinking of starting a private practice directly out of school, get started with the fundamentals DURING your program. We’re happy to connect you with a few dietitians who did this.
At Healthie, we speak to dozens of dietitians each day – and the resounding conclusion we’ve drawn is that 10-15 years into their careers, most dietitians have worked across all of these settings. Moreover, it took them all at LEAST 3-5 years to find their true “calling” within the profession — and some are still looking 😉
So, our suggestion – don’t fret, don’t stress, your career will unfold in a beautiful way over the course of many jobs! At the end of the day, make sure you find yourself in a career you like, that you’re learning in, and that puts you working with smart and passionate people. Carve out a niche for yourself and use nutrition to empower others! If we can be helpful at all, or put you in touch with dietitians in our community with a particular career or specialty, PLEASE let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org)